Click For Hope

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Forgiving my dad...

Divorce, Single Mom, Forgiveness, Single Parents, Clickforhope, My StoryJasmine LopezComment

I was born into the world rejected by my father, who made a new life with a new family. So all I knew was our little family: my mom, my older brother and me. I don't have many memories of my childhood. If I'm honest, I've suppressed so much of it, that I can only recall a memory here and there, and they aren't all good.

I do remember my mom doing her best trying to juggle it all. She was determined to figure out how to make it work with no assistance from anyone including the government.  A few of my fondest memories together was having a sock fight and making cheesecake for bake sales at church because I always got to lick the spoon with that delicious cream cheese filling. Other than that I don't remember much.

As a teenager, I was very cold, angry, bitter and didn't really know what I believed about "love". In fact "love" was distorted to me. I hadn't seen a positive example of it as well as marriage because all I was surrounded by was divorce. I don't think I realized it then nor could I even communicate that I had daddy issues. I just knew that when he'd come to pick us up I'd find an excuse to not go to his house. I wanted nothing to do with him. I didn't care if he ever got to be a part of my life again. I felt he had lost his chance.

Summer of junior year I was reacquainted with a childhood friend. It was through her a series of events happened where I found myself going to a youth retreat. I had no idea what I had gotten myself into, and my motives in going were totally wrong too! But God had a different plan for me. After a fun day full of competitive games and teaching, there was a worship experience that I will never forget. It changed my life forever!

I remember being in a room full of other high school and college aged kids, but somehow the room felt empty with just me and God. I was sitting on the floor in a fetal position and I heard a voice say, "I've missed you!" Tears began to stream down my face, as a LOVE no words could describe consumed my broken heart, and filled the room. I wanted this LOVE. It felt so warm, inviting and perfect.....and all I could say was, "I've missed you too!" As more tears streamed down my face I heard a voice tell me, "If you're going to follow me you're going to have to forgive your father." A simple nod was my response.

That Labor Day weekend was the weekend I decided to surrender my life and follow Jesus. What I didn't know how to do was forgive. My mom worked nights so we had opposite schedules and my brother was off at college, so I began having beautiful moments with Jesus as I studied and read the Word every night on my bed. I was intrigued by the simplicity but yet complexity of who Jesus was. The miracles He performed was something I wanted to see one day. The stories of Paul and how he was redeemed and used to do a amazing things was only evidence for me in how I could have a similar story.

Three months later, my mom called my dad and told him to call me. A part of me felt so betrayed, but knew deep downside she only did what I didn't have the courage to do. Over the phone I began sharing my Jesus story with him, and said, "Dad, I just want to let you know that I forgive you!"

I cried. He cried.

I can't say that instantly we began a relationship and everything was just peachy, but what I can say is that when I said those words, I literally felt bitterness, hatred, unforgiveness and so much more lift off my shoulders. I was instantly a different person. I began to learn what love was according to 1 Corinthians 13. I began to let the walls down that I built up towards my dad, and in turn, other people.

It's now been 16 years since that beautiful exchange took place. My dad has been in my life for as long as he was out of it. To me it was worth walking down the path of forgiveness, not just for our relationship, but for me to become the person I am today. My dad and I have a fully restored relationship. He walked me down the aisle when I got married 10 years ago, he's been at the hospital for the birth of each of my daughters. My girls know their grandpa and love him very much. We talk on the phone about marriage, faith, and life. When I look at my dad, I don't see him as the man that abandoned me... I see him as forgiven. All those feelings of hatred no longer reside in my mind or heart. I live my life free, knowing I'm forgiven and loved by my Heavenly Father.

So I end with this! If there is someone in your life that you need to forgive, my hope is that you would begin to walk down that path. It's not easy, and everyone's forgiveness story is different. What I do know is, when we choose to forgive it frees us up to love. It humanizes your pain. It allows you to feel verses numbing it all away. I pray that you would open your heart! Please feel free to email me at clickforhope@jaziphoto.com if you'd like more information on how I walked through that journey or if you are looking for help/advice on how to forgive someone who hurt or abandoned you.

 

 

 

Inspired by Love | Maria & Melody

Foster Care, Adoption, Forever Family, ClickforhopeJasmine LopezComment

At the age of two I was taken away from my biological mother because of my brother, who was 14, molested me and for my mom being in prostitution at the time. So me and all my 12 brothers and sisters got taken away from my mom. DCSF separated us and put us in different foster homes. Each foster child has a goal, either to get adopted or be independent. Independent means that once you turn 18, DCSF puts you in this program called "Independent living" and they give you a thousand dollars every month and tell you to go be an adult with no help or resources. So the government decided that I would be in the independent program, so from the age of 2 to 18 I would be in foster care and I wouldn’t be able to get adopted because that wasn’t my goal. I was placed in multiple foster homes. Every foster home was very physically and verbally abusive, that’s why I moved around so much. Once you get older, its harder to stay in a foster home because the families want babies with no problems and I guess I had a lot of issues. Nothing was stable. I was constantly getting rejected by families and feeling alone. I became very angry and started hating everyone, especially myself and I hated my life. I had no friends at school because I would move a lot and that meant I had to transfer a lot. I wouldn’t put any effort in my academics because of moving so much I thought why even try if I’m not going to be here for long and that’s how it was. I would be in one school for a week and then transfer to the next. Once I entered high school, it was the worst. They would just pass me because I was in foster care. It messed me up because I never got to write a paper. As I entered my senior year I got a new case worker because I was about to turn 18. I was getting ready to transfer into the independent living program. My caseworkers name was Gloria and she was a Christian and she told me about God. She started taking me to the youth group at her church and by the third time of me going to youth group, I asked Jesus to come live in my heart and to forgive me from my sins. Ever since then, my life has never been the same. I graduated high school as a Christian, loving Jesus, but I was afraid because I was entering into “adulthood,” and getting ready to move on my own and be independent. Once I moved out, I had no help. They fired my old caseworker Gloria, so I had nobody and I remember crying in my first apartment saying, “Father I need you to become so real to me, help me please! I’m afraid of being alone, please help me, Jesus.” I got a phone call from one of my friend's mom and asked if I wanted to go to church with her and of course I said yes. I started going to Grace and Peace Community Church. It was a small church but that’s when I started learning so much more about God, and the more I started reading His word the more I was falling in love with Jesus. One of the things I would do a lot to make Jesus real in my life is I would go on dates with Jesus. I would get all dressed up and go to a fancy restaurant and ask for a table for 2. The waiter would tell me you look nice, are you waiting for your date to arrive and I would say my dates already here at the table sitting with me (lol the look on his face was priceless). I could say that Jesus became so real He was my everything. Even though I felt alone physically, spiritually I felt so beautiful, loved and accepted. My companionship with Him was very strong.  There was a woman from the church I attended who came up to me and said, "You know, you should start praying for your husband because in the word in Psalm 37:4 it says 'Take delight in the Lord and he will give you your heart’s desire.'" I went home after service and I prayed to the Lord, well if you will give me my heart’s desire than I want parents and that started the journey of me praying for my parents. Once I turned 19 I met a women named Polly (she attended at Grace and Peace as well) and she was part of BreakDown, their goal is to break down society lies of love, sex and relationship through the performing arts. Well, she was looking for girls and guys who knew how to dance, sing, act or do spoken word. Since, I would sing and dance at my church, she asked me if I would like to be part of BreakDown. I said yes I would love too.I was in this group for 5 years and that’s where I met my leaders, Melody who then married her husband CD. They where the leaders for a season and then they left because they felt God was calling them to serve at their church. Around the time they left I was like 22 to 23 and I was still praying for my parents. I would remember going on dates and telling Jesus, "When is it going to happen." He said, "If I don’t give you parents, Maria, am I not enough?" I started to cry and I said, "Yes you are." He said, "Surrender that desire and trust me, I know what’s best." After that talk with Jesus I stopped praying for my parents and started putting my trust in Him even more and that was hard. Many nights I would cry myself to sleep thinking what is my purpose, who am I. I’m 24 now and still nothing’s changed everything is still the same, going to church, loving God and serving at my church, I’m still part of BreakDown,  but the people on our team were drifting away. Every year we would have retreats for every BreakDown team in the world and we would meet up and do performances and get an encouraging word from the speaker. It would be great like one big happy family. For the team in Chicago, this was our last retreat. So Melody contacted everyone on the team to see who wanted to go and I was the only one from my team that went. It was fun, it was just me Melody and her new born baby Jael. We all stayed in the same hotel room and with a curious look on Melody’s face she asked me “What’s your story, Maria?" I shared my entire story with her and then she got really emotional and she said wouldn’t that be cool if I was your mom and I said yes!!! That would be cool but nothing happened after that. The retreat was over, I went back home and she went back home to her family and everything was back to normal.  A woman from my church asked me if I wanted to go to a trip with her daughter to Puerto Rico (at the time I use to mentor her daughter) so I said, "Sure I’ll go." We went to Puerto Rico and it was great. It was my first time ever going and by the third day of being there, I received a phone call from CD, Melody’s husband, which was so weird because I never spoke to him before. We talked on the phone and he told me they had been praying for me. I was like okay thanks and then he asked me a question and said, “Maria you been on my heart and I wanted to ask you a question but I didn’t want to creep you. Would you give me the honor of being your dad and if you say yes, I would want you to come home and live with us? I would want to restore everything that the enemy has stolen.” I felt like time stopped, I couldn’t believe that this was happening, my hearts desire was to have parents. I was screaming all over the house and it was raining outside, so I took my friend out with me. I told her the Lord has given me parents and we started dancing in the rain. That was the best day of my life. I couldn’t believe it. I’m actually going to be part of a family that is my own.  On September 25, 2010 I became a Fabien, so my name is now Maria Isabella Fabien Salgado. My life now has never been the same, God has used my Dad to heal me from so many wounds of what men have done to me in the past when I was in foster care. The have been healed and restored from everything that the locust has eaten. Now I love going out and sharing my story because there is such freedom in sharing our stories. My favorite verse is Isaiah 61:1 "The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, for the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor." He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed.

What would you tell someone who has a similar story:

There is hope! You were created with purpose, and you are called for greatness. There are great people out there that can be there for you, who will love you in the midst of the chaos and hurt. It's the choices that we make that will determine your future.

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